STARGAZER: A tiny new shrimp called the “stargazer mysid” because of how its eyes appear to gaze heavenward has been found in False Bay. The discovery was made by local diver Guido Zsilavecz, who brought the shrimp to UCT for identification.Picture:GUIDO ZSILAVECZ
STARGAZER: A tiny new shrimp called the “stargazer mysid” because of how its eyes appear to gaze heavenward has been found in False Bay. The discovery was made by local diver Guido Zsilavecz, who brought the shrimp to UCT for identification.Picture:GUIDO ZSILAVECZ

There’s a new shrimp in town.

By Weekend Argus Reporter Time of article published Nov 22, 2014

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THERE’s a new shrimp in town and it appears to have a soulful disposition.

Researchers from UCT yesterday reported that the tiny new crustacean known as the “stargazer mysid” found in the waters of False Bay was a new species of shrimp.

The brightly coloured creature has what appear to be two large bulbous eyes that gaze heavenward, but UCT researchers said they are a trick of nature to make the tiny stargazer look bigger and more frightening to predators.

The tiny shrimp – which is about 10-15mm long – was discovered in False Bay by Cape Town diver and “citizen scientist” Guido Zsilavecz.

Zsilavecz, a keen underwater photographer, brought the shrimp to UCT marine biologist Emeritus Professor Charles Griffiths to identify.

Griffiths was unable to place the species and sent samples to international expert Professor Karl Wittmann at the University of Vienna in Austria.

Wittmann confirmed that it was indeed a new species.

UCT said that while the shrimp has what appear to be two large eyes, shrimps, like insects, have compound eyes that consist of many small elements.

Each element can look in a different direction.

The ringed patterns on the eyes are thought to be there to make the eyes appear to belong to a much bigger creature.

“They act like the eye spots on moths’ wings,” said Griffiths.

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